On Dec. 13, we issued the 2012 Road Map Project Results Report. For the Community Center for Education Results team, this is our first attempt to report on how things are going relative to the Road Map Project Indicators of Student Success. The Results Report is a follow-up to the 2011 Baseline Report, which presented data and targets for many indicators.

Personally, I am not a big fan of community report cards. I don’t like them because too often they report on challenges but don’t end up catalyzing action. They are released and engender much handwringing and editorializing, but then basically the same report is written the next year and the status quo repeats.

Hopefully, the Road Map Project’s data reporting will be different. Clearly, we need a way to hold ourselves accountable so it does make sense to look at the results data, but the more important thing is what we all will actually do to accelerate progress.

The Results Report shines light on “Bright Spots,” as well as on myriad areas that need work. A lot of ground is covered in the report – here’s what I found particularly interesting:

  • Our region is seeing growing poverty and changing demographics – we are now strongly a “majority minority” region
  • We finally have some early learning data – this itself is a breakthrough
  • 3rd grade reading results present an enormous challenge about which we must get serious
  • Nearly 15,000 9th through 12th graders are now signed up for the College Bound Scholarship, which promises tuition for low-income students who sign up in 7th or 8th grade and successfully graduate high school. These students have expressed their aspirations to go to college. Yet, this positive news is juxtaposed with a crisis amount of 9th graders – almost 5,000 – triggering early warning indicators, and the continued pattern of weak course-taking.

The year ends with us confronting our massive challenges and looking ahead to a new year. The collective work of our regional allies is poised as never before to begin to change outcomes for students in the ways that matter. We now have action plans with a committed set of implementers set on doing the hard work to change outcomes, and there is much else to celebrate:

  • Data usage to drive continuous improvement is on the rise
  • Funders are increasingly aligning their investments, as are youth-development organizations
  • Six of seven Road Map region school districts have passed formal resolutions declaring that they will pursue the Road Map Project goal
  • All districts are participating in a project to heighten usage of early warning indicators
  • Oh, and the $40 million Race to the Top grant is pretty great news!

All of this work is meant to inspire action to reach the 2020 goal, and we’ll need everyone’s help to be successful. Please get involved – or increase your involvement – and help us make the big improvements our students need.

Mary Jean Ryan is the Executive Director for the Community Center for Education Results.

Posted in: Data and Research

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